July 17, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
Praised for his wealth of community service work and volunteerism, senior linebacker Joe Schmidt is Notre Dame's nominee for the 2014 AFCA Good Works Team.
Schmidt helped establish a Notre Dame chapter of Uplifting Athletes, a national organization through which student-athletes raise both awareness and research funds for rare diseases. Notre Dame's chapter is dedicated to the fight against osteosarcoma, a rare form of malignant bone cancer which was beaten by 16-year-old Irish fan Sam Grewe of Middlebury, Ind. Schmidt has spearheaded a pair of bowling events that have raised almost $7,000 to battle this rare form of cancer.
Within Notre Dame's local community, Schmidt as also been instrumental in organizing multiple team community service projects, including a program with the South Bend Center of the Homeless. Each player gave a guest gift bag with toiletries and other donated items, while children received homemade blankets that were hand-made by residents in the Cavanaugh, Pasquerilla East, Howard and Walsh dormitories on campus. The Irish raised nearly $5,000 for the shelter. Schmidt has also participated in the Irish Experience League that brings South Bend-area youths to Notre Dame's campus to participate in athletic activities with Notre Dame student-athletes.
Schmidt has been a participant in Monarchs for Marines through his alma mater, Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. This program volunteers to help run youth camps for children of service members at Camp Pendleton's 11 Area Football Field. In addition to supporting the families of service members stationed at Camp Pendleton, the program also aims to serve a symbiotic purpose as associating with the Marines and sailors can provide Mater Dei student-athletes with a source of growth and inspiration.
Additionally, he has been involved with the local community in his hometown of Orange, Calif. by regularly speaking at numerous local grade schools and church parishes.
Schmidt came to Notre Dame as a walk-on in the summer of 2011. He played in 10 games on special teams in 2012 and was awarded a scholarship before the 2013 season. Last fall, Schmidt played in all 13 games, making a total of 15 tackles. He made tackles for loss against both Pittsburgh and BYU while also breaking up a pass in Notre Dame's victory over USC and recovering a fumble in the team's win at Air Force.
The American Football Coaches Association, through the Good Works Team, recognizes players whose charitable involvement and community service contributions stand out among all other student-athletes participating in the sport. The list of 90 Football Bowl Subdivision nominees will be pared in September to a team of a final team of 11 by a committee that includes former Good Works Team members and prominent college football media members, amongst others. Former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz is a member of this selection committee.